China Defies US Sanctions against Venezuela. Will Continue to Import Oil from Venezuela and Support Maduro Government

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, announced that China will not interrupt its relations with Nicolás Maduro‘s Venezuela, despite the US government’s sanctions on the South American country. The announcement is not surprising, given the undeniable efforts of the Asian country in terms of international cooperation, but, amid the increased aggressiveness with which American hegemony operates, it represents a true gesture of courage.

This means that, regardless of unilateral sanctions by the United States, China will continue to import Venezuelan oil. White House Special Envoy, Mr. Elliott Abrams, announced that Washington is taking the necessary steps to convince China to renounce its decision to continue cooperating with Nicolas Maduro’s regime. The American diplomat also announced his country is acting to prevent, not only China, but also India to stop buying Venezuelan oil.

On the other hand, Beijing’s official communiqués show unrestricted support for Venezuelan sovereignty and for the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s government. The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China stated

“Let the US become aware of the facts, stop abusing sanctions and other coercive measures, work with all parties to find a political solution to the Venezuelan problem […] Cooperation between China and Venezuela will continue to develop, even with the ‘changes’ “.

The Chinese government’s actions are not limited to benefiting only Venezuela, but are expanding to a list of other countries. For instance, this is China’s position in relation to the case of Russian oil company Rosneft and its subsidiary, Rosneft Trading, which also suffered sanctions from the United States. Chinese Chancellery spokesman said that “We are opposed to any interference in the internal affairs of other countries, as well as we are against unilateral sanctions and extraterritorial jurisdiction”.

Geng emphasized that the principles that guide China in its international relations in case of conflict of interests between States are the same as those set out in the United Nations Charter, which favor negotiation in accordance with basic norms of coexistence. Regarding the specific case of Venezuela, Geng affirmed the need to prioritize a peaceful and rational dialogue with the government of Nicolás Maduro, not admitting arbitrary sanctions imposed in an unfounded way just to guarantee the interests of the world powers that impose them.

The American custom of violently imposing its interests against any state has been hegemonized in United Nations policies for decades. What Washington has done – and continues to do – against Havana and Pyongyang clearly demonstrates how far the promotion of boycotts and isolation can go. In fact, the White House’s plans include doing the same with Caracas, boycotting the world trade of Venezuelan oil, with the aim of cutting off the country’s main economic tool and aggravating its crisis, throwing millions of citizens into poverty and destabilizing the legitimate and sovereign government of Nicolas Maduro.

In contrast, China demonstrates an interesting and legally correct way of maintaining relations and asserting its interests on the international scenario, maintaining peaceful relations with States, negotiating through safe and dialogical ways and avoiding involvement in coercive measures anywhere in the world. Cooperation with Venezuela, disregard for unfounded punishments against the Russian oil company, fair loans and debt relief in African countries, in addition to a number of other factors, clearly show China’s role in building a new legal global civilization, based on good relations between peoples, security and peace between States. And the result will be the growth of China’s economic power and political influence.

However, until tensions in Venezuela subside, many conflicts will be witnessed. Worsening the situation, the trade war between the United States and China may be even more distant from a truce.

What remains for the other BRICS countries and for any Nation State that wants to maintain its sovereignty in the globalized world is to follow the Chinese example. There is no reason to comply with American sanctions against Venezuela when the country has a legitimate government, which, just because it wants to preserve its sovereignty, is humiliated by Washington.


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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

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